Battle! Part IXSubmitted by ridiculous at 2010-02-26 11:41:20 EST
Rating: 1.87 on 18 ratings (18 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
2nd Prelude: http://www.ubersite.com/m/124425
2nd Day: http://www.ubersite.com/m/124476
Part VI: http://www.ubersite.com/m/124495
Part VII : http://www.ubersite.com/m/124527
Part VIII : http://www.ubersite.com/m/124552
Uriel stepped into the clearing and strode purposefully toward the bulwark. Sentries all around cried out an alarm which sent the camp into a state of unbridled chaos. The cook fires scattered here and there found themselves abandoned as the sounds of yelled orders filled the evening air. Uriel was amused. He stopped walking as the bulwark before him came alive with archers and torches.
“I will speak with the sorceress among you.” He announced to the wall.
Baraccus stepped into view atop the bulwark. “Hello Uriel.”
“Baraccus.” His voice was curt, devoid of warmth.
Baraccus waved his arm causing all bows to be lowered and swords sheathed. He smiled at the old Wizard, feeling powerful.
“Why do you wish to speak with her?”
“That is for her ears Baraccus.” The tone remained icy.
“You understand my predicament.” Baraccus stood at the edge of the bulwark, his hands on his hips a smug smile on his face.
“Surely. As you, understand mine?” Uriel returned.
“Oh? And what would that be?”
“I do not take kindly to being questioned by traitors.” A hard glare was directed at Baraccus whose face began to color.
Baraccus lifted his arm and with it the bows of the men across the makeshift wall.
“Be careful Uriel… I do not see that you are in a position to be rude.”
Uriel let half a smile come to his face and lifted his left hand palm up. A tiny flame grew and flourished quickly growing into a writhing ball of fire it hovered there spinning slowly. Murmurs of worry spread through the men before him along with a couple muttered prayers.
“Nor are you, Baraccus.”
Saleene’s voice rang out over those assembled. “When you fools are done playing, Send the old one to my tent.”
Uriel smiled full. “It would appear I have been invited?”
Baraccus sneered. “It would appear so.”
Uriel closed his hand extinguishing the ball of fire and turned to follow the sound of her call. He walked briskly and having no fear of this army. He knew that with her there he couldn’t possibly kill them all but mused that he could at least bury half of them.
She greeted him with a smile and extended her arm, welcoming him to her tent. He bowed and entered, leaning his staff near the door as was the old custom.
“Would you like some tea?”
“Why thank you, mistress.” He used the old appellation for a woman of power.
“Oh you would flatter me then?” Her smile broadened. “And what would you have of me, sire?” She turned to see to the tea while he examined his surroundings and found a seat.
“I’ll not waste your time. I wish for you to remain apart tomorrow during the battle.”
“And why should I do that?”
“Because this battle is not yours. And because I shall be there, if you are.”
“Oh? And who are you?”
“I am Uriel Andwraith, son of Xavier Andwraith.”
“I know that name. Your father was a great wizard.”
“Thank you mistress. And who is it I am addressing?”
“I am Saleene.”
“Saleene…” He tested the name, found it to his liking and understood perfectly the ramifications of it. “It is a lovely name, when did you take it?”
She was a changeling, a daemon who had taken the mind of a young sorceress. The demon had probably taken the girl while she was still ignorant of her own power, it would have been easier that way. The daemon would have inherited all of the girls memories and had no difficulty passing itself off as the child.
A changeling always took a new name for itself when it came into the world. It was called a changeling because the nature of the two spirits would combine when the daemon possessed the body. The daemon would lose its blood lust; the child would lose its compassion and so forth. Over time the emotions of the child would combine with that of the daemon until the end result was more or less human. Many of the arch mages circle believed that all men today were descended of changelings.
“You don’t miss much do you?” She turned back to him with two mugs of an aromatic brew. Handing him one she sat across from him folding her legs under her.
“A wizard doesn’t make it to my age without seeing things a bit more than what is offered.” He smiled at her picking up the mug and inhaling it. “My my, isn’t that lovely smelling? What is it?”
“Webroot.” She enjoyed the startled expression on his face.
“Where in the world did you find enough to brew?” He sipped the tea and found its flavor to be better than its scent.
“A lady never tells.” She teased to his amused laughter. “So why is it that you have an interest in this little… soiree?” She emphasized the last with a wave of her hand indicating the army surrounding the tent.
“I have guided and looked after the man that comes tomorrow since he was a child. I have watched over his family for a long time before that.” He sipped more of the tea and continued. “You are aware that your employer has butchered hundreds of people, including the Queen of this land.”
“I am sure you realize that is of no consequence to me, as it should be none to you.”
“You are certainly correct. Perhaps it is my age, perhaps it has softened me to the cares and people in this world.” She had played right into his trap. “This world may do the same to you, over time.”
“Perhaps tomorrow… but not today.” She studied his face, gauged his earnestness.
“You know, they say webroot has certain effects…” He looked into her eyes and drank a bit more.
“Do they now? And what might they be?” She grinned looking back into his eyes and running a hand over her leg as she too sipped the hot brew.
“They say... It is a very potent aphrodisiac.”
“Do they really?” She stood up & walked over to him slowly. Draping her arms around his neck and settling into his lap she smiled at him. “Why don’t we talk about it in the morning?”
Uriel looked into her eyes and found himself smiling back at her. “The tea or the battle?”
She busied herself kissing his neck and bit him gently to let him know she didn’t care for the quip.
Uriel gently shook Perth awake.
“William. Wake up boy!”
“Wha?.. Uriel, what is it?” Sir Perth wiped the sleep from his eyes and attempted to focus.
It was nearly dawn and the morning was chilly. Sir Perth sat up and looked at the old man smiling above him. The sounds of the camp let him know that the army was already preparing to march.
“It is done.”
“What is done? You went to see the witch?”
“She will not aid Baraccus any longer. You do not need to fear sorcery today.”
“I can’t believe it! How did you…”
Sir Perth's words trailed off as a lovely white arm came over Uriels shoulder and across his chest while a beautiful face with green eyes and raven hair came over his other shoulder and smiled at him.
“Who..?” Realization struck Sir Perth like a bucket of icy water. He kicked hard at his bedding pushing himself as far away from the couple as he could.
Sir Perth scanned the room quickly for his sword as he struggled to stand. Uriel put up his hands to try and calm the Commander. “William… Calm down.”
“Are you mad?!” The Knight Commander yelled as he seized his sword and threw aside its scabbard.
Uriel looked stern, disapproving. “William put down that sword immediately.”
“Which is it? Am I mad or bewitched? Put down that sword now or I will make you put it down!”
Sir Perth hesitated, he lowered the blade but did not drop it. His face was crimson and he had begun sweating.
“Good. Now listen and do not interrupt.” Uriel commanded. “I have convinced Saleene here not to engage in the battle today. As we discussed. If she.” He indicated the woman behind him with a thumb over one shoulder. “Or I participate in this fight, it will result in many more dead. That is why we are leaving.”
“Leaving? But you can’t! Not with her! She killed…”
“Silence!” Uriels gaze was threatening. “She did not kill anyone. Baraccus killed Mordarren. Saleene’s magic was just the tool. Think William. I taught you better than this.”
“But why leave? We have need of your magic!”
“It is beyond your reasoning!” Anger was getting the better of the old wizard.
William did not like being yelled at or condescended to. “Try me.” He spat.
Uriel sighed deeply and indicated for William and Saleene to sit. Once they were seated he collected himself and started explaining.
“Magic is dying William.” Sir Perth opened his mouth to interject but Uriel continued anyway. “Just wait, let me explain and then I will answer any questions you have. It is true. Magic is dying out. No one really knows why but it is happening nonetheless.”
“A long time ago magic was much more common and much more powerful than it is now. While it has always been rare there were more children born with god's gift in a month then, than we see in decades now. That was why I began to teach magic, to try and preserve the gift by making sure young sorcerers and sorceresses would survive to have children. Despite my efforts and those of the Arch Mages Circle fewer and fewer children are born with the gift.”
“I will spare you a lengthy discussion on statistics and probability of bearing a baby with the gift by telling you a couple of facts. Conceiving a baby with magic is rare so those with magic try often. Nearly whenever they meet, even if they do not know each other.” He shared a look with Saleene and turned back to Sir Perth. “Second is that a sorceress knows when conception has been successful. Within hours she can hear the child speaking in her mind.” Uriel gave Saleene another private look, this one with a smile.
“Wait… Uriel, are you saying?”
“Now, do you understand why we must go?”
“No, I need you here.”
“William. You know I have always aided you, I have always done all in my power to protect you and this kingdom but this is more important than your battle. I do not expect you to understand.”
Saleene made a noise in her throat that caught their attention, a slight movement of her head told Uriel she wanted to speak. Uriel looked at the Knight Commander and then back to her and nodded that he thought it would be ok.
“William, you have every right to hate me for supporting your enemies and for what I have done to you. I do not ask your forgiveness for what happened but I do ask you to forgive me taking away Uriel when you need him and he would stay. As he has said, bringing a new gift into the world is more important than this fight. As an offering, I have brought someone here whom I hope will be of assistance to you.” She rose and walked to the entrance of the tent, returning a moment later she was followed by a weeping Graegor.
"Graegor, I want you to tell the Knight Commander everything you know about Baraccus' camp and plans."
A tiny flame grew and flourished quickly growing into a writhing ball of fire.jpg